During game five of the NBA finals tonight, Jay-Z shared a commercial announcing his new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, out July 4. The video features Rick Rubin, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, and Timbaland in a recording studio candidly talking about emotion in hip-hop and the importance of maintaining one's sense of self throughout both successes and failures.
About a minute and a half into it, Jay raps, "I just want a Picasso/No more casa/No more castle," and about thirty seconds later, he repeats (with a lot of emphasis), "I JUST want a Picasso." The camera then pans to a notepad where he's written the words "Picasso," "Part II," "BBC" (presumably Billionaire Boys Club), and "Tom Ford."
He goes on to say, "You don't want drive (?), you don't want happiness, you don't want this, you don't want that?" to which Rick Rubin responds in agreement that getting more things doesn't actually change your life at all.
Whether he references Picasso as a potential song title or lyrics on Magna Carta Holy Grail, the inclusion of the artist within the three-minute video was obviously very intentional. And it's not the first time that Jay-Z's included a blatant reference to a legendary artist in one of his commercials, since just last October, he was photographed in a D'Usee cognac ad looking across the room at a Basquiat painting.
It also wouldn't be the first time he's rapped about Picasso. On Watch the Throne's "Who Gon' Stop Me," he raps, "I’m riding dirty, tryna get filthy, Pablo Picasso, Rothkos, Rilkes."
So what does all it mean? So far, nothing, except for the fact that WE HAVE A NEW JAY-Z ALBUM ON JULY 4!!!! and, based on the prints they look at later in the commercial, Jay's been planning this project with the artwork and art history in mind. We can always hope that there's a song about Picasso, though, whether it's literal or relating a Picasso painting to wealth in some genius, quadruple-entendre fashion that only Jay can pull off.
Watch the commercial and check out the untraditional press release on Complex Music.